Tue, Jul 29, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Taiwanese based in China facing loss of citizenship

TOUGH CHOICES New laws would give Taiwanese businessmen living in China an option to have a Chinese ID card, but the authorities here will disown them if they get one


Taiwanese who register their households in China or hold passports issued by the PRC will not be treated as nationals of the Republic of China (ROC), Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) said yesterday.

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress passed the "National ID Card Law" at the end of June, which opens and option to residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan with household registrations in China to register for Chinese identification cards.

This law will take effect on Jan. 1 next year.

Scholars and Straits Exchange Foundation officials have expressed their concern that Beijing is trying to attract more Taiwanese to China and, by issuing them ID cards, are changing their national identity to Chinese.

This method of attracting Taiwanese is akin to "the United Front (統戰)" tactic used by the Chinese Communist Party during the civil war.

In response, the Mainland Affairs Council has submitted revisions to the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) that would force Taiwanese with Chinese passports or ID cards to give up their ROC citizenship.

"The revised version of the law would deprive Taiwanese PRC ID cardholders of their right to vote, run for public office or sit for exams to be civil servants. Their household registration in Taiwan would be revoked, but their obligations to pay taxes and be conscripted to serve in the army would remain," Liu said.

"But they can still get back their nationality as an ROC citizen if they give up their PRC ID card and passport," Liu said.

The Legislative Yuan has not yet approved the revisions.

Attracted by cheap labor and the favorable business policies of the Chinese government, many Taiwanese companies have established branches -- or even headquarters -- in China during the past decade. Many employees have moved their families there for the sake of convenience.

Beijing has even been offering Taiwanese businessmen posts as city or county council representatives.

Two DPP legislators yesterday also complained that some government officials and military personnel who fled to Taiwan in 1949 have moved back, but still collect their pensions here.

"There are more than 6,000 veterans living in China," said Legislator Lin Ching-hsing (林進興). "And Taiwan pays at least NT$50 million for their pensions. The money all goes to China."

Legislator Charles Chiang (江昭儀) said, "China is our enemy. What these veterans have done is not tolerable to Taiwanese. If they really hold PRC ID cards, the government should stop paying their pensions."

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